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Upright Women Wanted

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  701 ratings  ·  242 reviews
In Upright Women Wanted, award-winning author Sarah Gailey reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity.

"That girl's got more wrong notions than a barn owl's got mean looks."

Esther is a stowaway. She's hidden herself away in the Librarian's book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her--a
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  701 ratings  ·  242 reviews

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Chaima ✨ شيماء
Oh, to be a queer Librarian spy on horseback fighting fascism and finding camaraderie, love and purpose....

This was so good. Full review to come.
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
Dec 11, 2018 marked it as tbr-unreleased
"The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing. " OH WOW CATCH ME CRYING FRIENDS
Emily (emilykatereads)
Dec 18, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: anticipated-2020
“be gay, do crimes, circulate books”

is tor pandering to me
Elise (TheBookishActress)
"What Sarah Gailey's upcoming novella lacks in hippos, it makes up for with queer librarian spies on horseback" - Tor's blurb for this
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook-owned, arc
3.5 stars- This is a high concept SF that mostly delivers on its premise and is, even more importantly, fun. Picture it: ye dystopia future in The West. We've got a plucky band of Librarians who are ostensibly a part of the State's institutional arm meant to reinforce a regressive social order, but we quickly learn (along with our point of view character) that this band is more than it seems. I loved the thematic content of this, and much prefer this version of those themes over its predecessor, ...more
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
After watching her best friend/secret love of her life hang for possessing "unapproved materials" (resistance propaganda), Esther learns her high-ranking government official father has arranged for her to marry the man who was engaged to her dead lover.

It's time for Esther to make an escape and she does so by hiding in a librarian's book wagon. She's spent her entire life pretending to be someone else in order to survive in a fascist society. Continuing the role as a librarian --- an upright
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a popular ARC in my office at the library, for obvious reasons! I really wanted to love the book (queer! subversive! librarians!) but it just didn't click for me. I think it's mainly that I, a humble ace, could not understand how the protagonist could go from mourning her best friend/lover (who was JUST executed) to eyeballing the hot enby trainee librarian in the space of a single day. Perhaps this seems perfectly normal to allosexuals and wouldn't bother other readers at all, but to ...more
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
Explicitly antifa, queer librarians... here goes again, publishing things that are directly my brand
The Nerd Daily
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray Publishing has developed quite a name for themselves when it comes to incredibly well-written, weird, and original science fiction and fantasy reads. And Sarah Gailey’s upcoming novella, Upright Women Wanted, is no exception!

Playing off the classic western genre, Gailey kicks up dust, sweeping the reader away to a world they won’t soon want to leave. A future, near-dystopian, world where the State controls everything from
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
Esther is a stowaway—a stowaway who got caught. After trying to convince the Librarians—those upright, morally virtuous distributors of Appropriate Materials—that she belongs and needs to join them, Esther begins to realize that the Librarians aren't as just as they pretend to be. They're part of the resistance, and out to deliver a package to safety from the authoritarian patriarchy ruling over the country.

I was intrigued and entranced by this Western-inspired dystopian, which took the
I think it was a few months ago that I first saw the cover for this book, which while it looked interesting with an equally intriguing title - it was the blurb talking about “queer librarian spies on horseback in future American Southwest” that sealed the deal that I had to read this one. I never expected to get the ARC but I did request on a whim, so imagine my surprise when I got approved for it. And I just had the urge to read it immediately and it was so much fun.

It’s kinda difficult to
That was so gay <3
Ash | Wild Heart Reads
Upright Women Wanted is a short, sharp and shiny novella filled with queer librarians on horseback, rebellion and the distribution of Unapproved Materials. It's a futuristic, dystopian wild west like you've never seen.

Esther journey was a fantastic one to follow - it was so great to watch her come into her own. We see her go on a journey - not just one of finding her strength but also one of accepting who she is and that there's more than out there for people like her than a tragic ending. It
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Queer librarians on horseback in a dystopian American future? Sure! Upright Women Wanted is Handmaids Tale meets the Wild West in a little novella that left me curious about the wider world. Esther is on the run after her best friend and lover was hanged for possessing Unapproved Materials. She hopes to cure herself of her attraction to women by joining the Librarians, but quickly discovers that things are not as she had thought. It's a short book, so I won't say too much more about the plot, ...more
May 24, 2018 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts
Hell yeah, 'queer librarian spies!'
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: Queer Librarians take on the Man in this rolicking, imaginitive Wild West tale.

Esther was, she realized, nothing more than a hand of cards in a poker game between these three women. She was only a symbol. She wasn’t the thing they were playing for. And like a bad hand, she could be discarded at any moment.

Sarah Gailey
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
"Are you a coward or are you a librarian?"

Upright Women Wanted continues Gailey's tradition of writing excellent stories threaded with incisive prose and extraordinary heart. This is a tale of identity, survival, and the importance of writing and telling stories about the lives and loves of queer people, especially during times like these when so many people live in hiding, afraid of living their truths. While I didn't feel like the novella format gave the main romance quite enough time to
Oppressive goverment men beware, these ladies have your number.

Gailey knocks it out of the park again, this time with Upright Women Wanted. Queer, gun wielding, horseback riding librarians, in a dystopian future, risking life and limb to deliver 'packages' on behalf of an underground resistance?? Oh hell yaaaaaas!

Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Much like Pet, this reads almost like a fable for 2020, using a new future as an environment to speak to queerness, resistance, police states, and censorship. Enjoyed this one.
Austine (NovelKnight)
Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight!

This book was provided by the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I'm... not really sure how to describeUpright Women Wanted. In a way, it reminded me a bit ofThe Handmaid's Talebut with a Wild West flair, but that feels almost a disservice to this story because it's so much more.

Upright Women Wantedchallenges the heteronormative mindset. Here we have a world where women should "know their
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home-library
I. Loved. This. Book. I devouredit in one day and already can't wait to read it again.
I loved the characters, the setting, the Librarians, the drama, all of it. I could read 500 more pages of this story, but I also kind of love that it is short and just a glimpse of a bigger story.
I loved Esther immediately. She is broken and scared and quite naive. But she knows she has to do something, make some change for herself. Even if at first it might be for misguided reasons, it kind of shows that
Like the other Sarah Gailey books I’ve read, the premise of Upright Women Wanted might be a little hard to explain, but go in on trust and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

It took me a little while — probably longer than it should, I can be obtuse — to realise that the story is set in a near-future dystopian society rather than the historical ‘wild west’.

The sense of place is that well written. For most of the story we’re on the road, travelling in an unforgiving landscape with a few brief
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, lgbtqiap
Queer spy librarian on horseback in the Weird West.

If that doesn't sell you on this book, nothing else I say will.

This novella was delightful and almost everything I thought and hoped it would be. I do wish the spy element was emphasized a little bit more, but as with many stories with this high concept, what I really loved were all the characters. Esther and Cye were wonderful, and I loved their ending.

I really hope there's a second one, as I need more about their adventures, and this
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 “I guess this was fine but I won’t remember a word of it in six months” Stars.

I loved Sarah Gailey’s American Hippo books, so I keep picking up her other work and expecting better than what I end up getting.

While this is a far better book than Magic for Liars in terms of narrative quality, it suffers from the same problem of being far, far better in concept than in execution.

Parts of this are cute and charming, but mostly the whole thing feels flat. Add in a protagonist who
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been a public librarian in Topeka, Kansas since 2001 and I am passionate about serving my community but @gaileyfrey’s Upright Women Wanted is the alternate history adventurous love letter to my life choices I didn’t realize I needed. Thank you.

I read an advance copy of this book and LOVED it. I’m not saying that every line is quoteable. Some excellent words are devoted to world building and plot and such. But...some lines are truly great and I can’t share them yet because spoilers.

J.A. Ironside
ARC provided by via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Upright Women Wanted was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020 and it did not disappoint. Gailey's prose is open and engaging, the characters possess a warmth and depth that makes you immediately root for them, even when they are flawed or acting in a less than likeable way. The novella is set in a weird west which we later learn is a post-collapse totalitarian patriarchy. The boys go off to war. The girls go to be good
Rachel Pollock
I bailed on this at the 25% point because it just didn't ring true to me. It should have been right up my alley and the concept is great. The execution though reads like some lesbian Deadwood fanfiction with the names all find-and-replaced.
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
The old trope of running away with the circus never really made sense to me. Sure there’s glamor and adventure, but it always sounded like a lot of messy, smelly work to me. Running away to join librarians, however, is just my cup of tea. Even without the added “motivation” that prompts protagonist Esther runs away to join a group of traveling librarians in a devastated future America in Upright Women Wanted, I would totally understand why she would rather tramp around the desert with librarians ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book felt very uneven to me. Parts of the world-building were really incredible and handled very deftly, while other elements of it were so ham-fisted as to feel like an after school special. Likewise, some of the characters (well, two) were really well-drawn, while the others were so flat that they were indistinguishable from each other. There is a couple here that I could literally not describe apart from their names, and this despite both characters taking up a vast amount of page time. ...more
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“...a sharp edge on the words. It was a tone Esther recognized. The kind of dangerous that would have been hard to notice if she hadn't heard it a hundred times before. It was the danger of assumed authority. Amity thought of herself as more important than the librarians. Thought her work was more urgent. Esther had grown up in a house with that same kind of importance. She knew what happened when it was challenged. She knew what people who thought of themselves that way would do, just to protect the idea that they had the right to do it.” 0 likes
“She wanted that satisfaction. She wanted it for herself wanted it like a half-starved alley-rat watching that table through a window on a bellyaching night. She didn't know how to get it—but she had a feeling that if she stuck with the Librarians for long enough, she might be able to figure it out. How to feast instead of starving.

How to like the person who she was instead of fighting it.”
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